Coronavirus Hit California’s Cut-Flower Industry at the Worst Time

It happened this fast: Shoppers frightened by the novel coronavirus ransacked grocery stores. Store managers shifted staff to restock shelves. The floral booth went empty. California’s cut-flower industry imploded.

Sure, there are lots of nuances to this tale of tumbling economic dominoes. But at its core is the simple fact that few will buy a perishable luxury item when they fear for their lives. That could spell the end of many farms in California’s $360-million cut-flower industry.

Since mid-March, sales have fallen an average of 85% on California’s 225 flower and foliage farms, while the labor force has dropped by a similar proportion, according to the California Cut Flower Commission, a state agency that promotes the industry.

“We have companies that won’t be here when it’s over,” said David Pruitt, CEO of the commission.

Carlsbad Flower Fields Prepped for Spring’s Arrival

The March through May wonderment that we know as The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch will once again explode with tissue-like petals of Tecolote ranunculus, Mother Nature’s sign that spring is on the way.

Seven million flowers — in hues of red, purple, orange, gold, rose, pink and white — will fill row upon row of the more than 50 acres of hillside that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

San Diego County is home to more than 5,500 local farms and a $4.8 billion agriculture industry fueled by safe and reliable water supplies from the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies. Photo: Water Authority

Farm-to-Table Event Highlights San Diego County Products

On April 25, the San Diego County Farm Bureau is bringing a one-of-a-kind tasting and education event to the famous Carlsbad Flower Fields. Up to 300 people from around the county will experience a remarkable variety of recipes and beverages, all prepared from locally sourced ingredients by some of the best chefs in the region.

San Diego leads nation in avocados, vine-ripe tomatoes

Many people don’t realize that a lot of the produce they buy at grocery stores or enjoy in local restaurants is grown right here in San Diego County. In fact, the county is home to more than 5,500 local farms and a $4.8 billion regional agriculture industry fueled by safe and reliable water supplies from the Water Authority and its 24 member agencies.

Thursday’s event, called “Graze at the Fields,” is an opportunity for the community to connect with farmers. In addition to enjoying hand-crafted samples and beverages, guests will have a chance to talk with local growers and purveyors to learn about all that goes into producing the finest and freshest local farm products.

The Water Authority is sponsoring the event as part of its Brought to You by Water outreach and education program, which was created to raise awareness about the importance of safe and reliable water supplies for San Diego County’s key industries and quality of life. During April, May and June, the Water Authority is partnering with the region’s agriculture industry to highlight the local bounty that is “Brought to You by Water.”

For more information about Graze at the Fields, go to

Share photos of your favorite San Diego County produce

Following the event, the Water Authority also will kick off a social media photo contest that will run through the month of May, to coincide with Water Awareness Month.

Between May 1-31, participants who submit a photo of their favorite locally grown vegetables, fruits, nursery plants or flowers and use the #B2UbyH2O will be entered to win prizes generously donated by local businesses and organizations, including the San Diego County Farm Bureau, Specialty Produce, and Jimbo’s…Naturally!

More information about the Brought to You by Water program and the social media contest is at